“Music is my walking stick. I feel safe with my music around: it gives me confidence.” 13 September 2008. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Chaka Khan’s "I’m Every Woman" is the most appropriate of titles for Gifty Naa DK’s life. The Ghanaian artist who defines herself as an all-round performer and multi-instrumentalist is quite an amazing woman.
Gifty set foot in Britain in 1979, as part of the Bokoor ("cool") band, touring and performing nationally to teach drumming around the country. In the early 1990s, she decided to make it on her own, releasing two albums, including the very soulful and pleasant "Etome" in 1998.
A woman of many talents, Gifty also developed a career as a hairstylist, opening her first salon, "It Will Grow Back" in East London in the early 2000s.
She was a hair design pioneer, with "the tree hairstyle", which owed her commissions by the Hackney Museum and the organisers of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.
"It Will Grow Back" specialises in braiding, from conrows to corkscrew to twists, and although Gifty had relocated the business in North London, she is now operating and runs all her activities from her home in Old Street.
And this is not all. About four years ago, Gifty turned herself into an arts & crafts dealer, and founder of Boko Arts, which sees her ship the finest Ghanaian arts and crafts to London. Her selection of crafts includes masks, drums, mural friezes/fresques, human size statues, which she sells at very affordable prices, starting at £10.
She will be hosting a showroom and sale from Friday 26th September to Sunday 28th September. But which of these many caps does she prefer wearing? Without hesitation Gifty clearly states: "Music is my walking stick! I feel safe with music around: it gives me confidence"
So, after performing across the country and in the capital, notably at the Ghanaian Embassy and the Africa Centre in Covent Garden, why hasn’t she been seen on stage much lately? Gifty confesses that she’s been the victim of "many ill-intentioned people in the business" and that a lot of her music has been leaked and uncredited to her. While after all the years in the industry, one might find such experience disheartening, Gifty doesn’t and is still on the lookout for a suitable manager, who could help her resurface and share her talents to the largest numbers. In the meantime, she still finds enjoyment in teaching her skills, that are drumming, singing, hairstyling and dancing, to the younger generation.
And only God knows how much there is to learn from, excuse the obvious play on words, this gifted lady!
For more information about Gifty Naa DK, to buy her records or learn more about her next showroom, please visit http://boko-arts.com
By Solange Moffi